Pietersen's extravagance not enough for England

South Africa 311-7
England 304-8
South Africa win by 7 runs

For England, the road to Buffalo Park turned out to be paved with so much bull. The good intentions, the urge to turn this makeshift side into something more substantial were buried under a blaze of unfettered strokeplay and the best they can hope for now is a 3-3 draw in this Standard Bank Series.

For England, the road to Buffalo Park turned out to be paved with so much bull. The good intentions, the urge to turn this makeshift side into something more substantial were buried under a blaze of unfettered strokeplay and the best they can hope for now is a 3-3 draw in this Standard Bank Series.

To achieve that they will need to win the last two matches and to achieve that in turn they will almost certainly need yet another remarkable performance from Kevin Pietersen. That England lost by only seven runs in trying to chase down a target of 312 last night was down almost entirely to Pietersen.

He is forging a trail across the country where he was born and he made his second hundred of the series by hitting the last ball of the match for six. It was as extravagant as it was predictable. It was only the 69th ball of his innings, and it was by a distance the fastest one-day century by an England batsman.

Much of his innings was conducted in a lost cause but with Pietersen at the wicket, striking in improbable directions, England always had a sniff. He should have been stumped when he was on 16 and in the end, he did not quite receive as much of the bowling as he would have liked in the final frenetic flurry.

South Africa made 311 for 7, the highest score in a limited-overs match at the ground. It meant that England had to make their highest total anywhere, any time to win. Their start made it next to impossible and only Pietersen dragged it back from that realm.

The astonishing element of the home side's score was that they are supposed to be in disarray, they have just effectively sacked their temporary coach and are searching for a successor to their interim chairman of selectors. If ever they should manage to put their house in order, the opposition could be in real trouble.

The fifth match of a series which is apparently not interminable but will be called to a halt after seven, was played amid lakes of sawdust dotting the outfield after a deluge the previous night. They represented what England's hopes of levelling the series at 2-2 had become.

None of England's bowlers went for a fewer than five runs an over, two of them went for more than seven. The largest contributor to South Africa's innings was Graeme Smith, who scored his second century of the series. Before it began he had never scored a single hundred in 56 matches, so England can be said to have pointed his limited-overs career in the right direction.

Smith, however, paled by comparison with Justin Kemp who is in the form of his life. He scythed his way to 80 from 50 balls, an innings which included seven sixes and four fours. He shovelled plenty in the direction of cow corner but can also hit good length balls straight back over the bowler's head.

Before this series began Kemp had played 14 undistinguished one-dayers with a top score of 46. He has now scored 202 runs in five innings against England in the last 11 days at the phenomenal rate of 120 runs per 100 balls.

The last 10 overs throughout this series have been profitable for one side or the other, usually South Africa and this time they added 111. Of those, 62 came in the last five, which included a strange over from Darren Gough, once more England's best bowler, in which three wickets fell in three balls.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition